In many ways, balloons are the ultimate kids' toy. They're dirt cheap, they take up very little storage space and you can do a million things with them. In need of inspiration ? How about these ideas ?
Static electricity - We've been having great fun playing with microscopes and looking at creepy crawlies lately so why not keep the scientific fun going by learning about static electricity? Rub a balloon gently on your jumper repeatedly (going in one direction, not up and down) then use it to pick up tiny pieces of paper, stick it to the ceiling or - our favourite - making people's hair stand up on end when you put it near their head !
Balloon powered vehicles - Raid the recycling bin to create a vehicle - the lighter the better but it needs to be big enough to have a balloon taped to it - then stick on a balloon, release and let the escaping air propel it across the table.
Balloon tennis - Make tennis rackets with paper plates stuck on sticks (or just held in your hands if it's easier), lay a scarf out in a line as a net and play pit-pat tennis.
Hover Jet - Similar to the balloon-powered junk-model cars, use the downward pressure of the escaping air to propel a hover jet across the table. We have a shop-bought one but I'm sure you could make your own with a bit of creativity. You just nedd a spout at the top to attach the balloon to, a flat area to trap the air and a hole for the air to come out of. The shop-bought one makes a funny noise as it whizzes around too - giggles guaranteed !
It's a kind of magic - When I was little, I was always seriously impressed by this ! Put a piece of sellotape on a balloon and gently push a pin through it - the balloon won't pop and won't even deflate, until you take the pin out.
Water bombs - the perfect way to cool off in the summer while having fun. Fill up some small balloons with water then throw them up in the air so that they land next to someone, popping and spraying them with water. Or, for a variation, draw a series of targets on the floor in chalk - we did an Angry Birds themed water bomb game last year - and see how many you can hit before you run out of balloons !
Papier maché piggy bank - Make up some flour and water paste and cover a balloon in lots of pieces of ripped up newspaper or tissue paper. Leave to dry overnight and pop the balloon, then paint pink, add toilet roll tube legs and snout and paint on eyes and a mouth. Cut a slot in the back if you really want to use it as a piggy bank but you'll have to destroy it to get the money out !
Papier maché bowl - Same idea but a simpler project for younger kids. Cover the bottom half of a balloon with plenty of white glue and stick on squares of paper, sequins, buttons, ... then leave to dry and pop the balloon.
Piñata - Carefully insert a funnel into the neck of a balloon and pour in some small sweets. Blow it up and attach it to the ceiling or give it to the kids to tap in the air until it pops, showering them in sweets !
Disclosure : This is my entry for the We Love Balloons Blogger Competition.